The actual issue–at least for me– is much less exciting than a pool brothel. It’s that people refuse to share when all the lanes are full.
Las Vegas has a ton of pools, but this is my favorite. It’s within two miles of where we live; it has six 4’6″ lanes, which is the perfect depth to run, walk, jump, dance, AND swim when you get tired of doing all of the former things. The pool is also one big pool. The middle area is reserved for groups, kids, and families who bob around the middle without actually swimming, although the weekly aerobics class takes place there.
The other lanes beyond that are the 7 to 9 feet deep lanes. To top it off, the edge of the pool is right at shoulder level. The newer pools are not only divided and have no running lanes, but the deck is above your head, separated from the pool by big deep gutters. When you want to put on equipment, or grab a drink of water, you have to hang on to the deck with one armpit like you’re trying not to fall out of an airplane at 30 thousand feet.
Maybe that was the designer’s point. “No more being comfortable in the pool! Swim and get out!”
I’ve mentioned the refusal to share several times to pool management, but they don’t seem to want to enforce a general policy. They used to; it was standard policy that two people share a lane when all the lanes are full. And since the beginning of summer, the Summerlin pool–the sister to the Municipal pool–has been closed with pump issues. That means the Municipal pool is even more crowded with their regulars.
I’ve been going at different times during the morning to find open lanes, and I usually guess wrong. I even went once at 7pm, and it was more crowded than during the day. Of course, the water has been tepid since we hit triple digits. If anyone thinks they can “cool” off in the pool, they are delusional.
Last week, I had a minor confrontation with a couple who usually goes to the Summerlin pool. They were using the two end lanes to swim side by side, and when I got in to use the end lane after waiting for ten minutes to see if anyone was going to leave a lane, the husband said they do the “butterfly,” so would I please move over to the third lane where that man was leaving. How he knew the guy was leaving, I don’t know, and I don’t give a hoohah if someone does the butterfly. I know how to share a lane. I told him that, too. The wife does a lousy butterfly anyway. She barely breaks the water.
But I went ahead, got out and moved all my stuff, and then got back in to move to the third lane. I need the steps to do it, which is why I got in and out again. I remembered this couple from several years ago when they said the same thing–they didn’t want to share. Maybe they didn’t learn how in kindergarten.
So I determined that I would arrive the next time at 7:45 am. They were already standing at the door, first in line–ooh, la, la–to come inside at 8. The pool was already open with personnel, so at 3 minutes to 8 I opened the other door and walked inside. I was hot.
I checked in and waited 3 more minutes to walk through and collect my dumbbells. Then I walked to the far end to put my things down. The school swim team was still there–they get there at 5 am and swim until 8. Holy moley.
The male half of this couple came barging up and cut in front of me to put his things down. I told him I was already there and he told me he “was there first” and was going to use that lane. He got in and after his wife put her shoes down at the SECOND lane, she got in the same lane as hubby. I got in too, and started suiting up. The wife swam away and I went around hubby and started my laps.
He said, “This isn’t happening, ma’am. I’m going to get the lifeguard.” I told him to go ahead.
He brought the lifeguard over and he listened to our stories., which was that I had arrived at this lane first, while Hubby was saying they were first in line outside the door. Wifey Poo was standing with her back against the wall next to me, and said something sotto voce, but she made sure it was loud enough for only me to hear. I turned to her and said, “Excuse me?” in that way we use when we know the other person has said something derogatory. She said, “You should be ashamed.”
I told her what I thought of that and of her in two succinct and familiar words, and she told me the same thing back. When a shithead says I should be ashamed of myself, it is the wrong thing to say to me. In fact, it’s the wrong thing to say to me at any time. Then she called me a “liar,” and I said, “Really? How am I lying?”
She reiterated that they were “first at the door.” I told the lifeguard, “That is indeed correct, they were first at the door, but I went inside, checked in, and waited until 8 o’clock to walk to the pool. I didn’t cut in front of anyone.” As a matter of fact, if you have your card, you scan it and don’t wait in line anyway.
Perhaps I could start a line at my door and be first EVERYWHERE.
After they swam away the lifeguard bent down and told me they’d done the same thing to a visually impaired regular and when the lifeguard walked away after requesting that they give the lane to the other man, he overheard them calling him a prick. Vurry nice.
When I realized they were going to stay in the same lane together–why I don’t know–I told the lifeguard (who was visibly anxious about settling a dispute between quarrelsome old people) that I’d move to the second lane if he’d move her shoes. He did and I scooted over. Just as I’m doing that, Wifey Poo swims up and says–I kid you not–“Ha, ha.” She’s 65 if she’s a day. Man, was she pushing her luck. She’s lucky I didn’t relive MY second grade year and get back in their lane, and let her bump into me with every lap. Boing! Boing!
I climbed out after a bit and went to tell the front desk about the whole sordid incident, but didn’t get much feedback. So I called the city manager when I got home and then sent an email about it to the Parks and Rec supervisor. I told him if these people ever again get within two feet of me or talk to me at all, I’ll call 911 and report them for assault.
The pool needs to post a written policy about sharing lanes and make sure the lifeguards know they have the authority to enforce it. The lifeguards, generally young and sometimes in their first job, do not feel they can enforce anything.
The next time I went to the pool, I got up at 6am and was there by 7am. I had a mug full of hot coffee, two frozen bottles of water, and something to read. I was all set.
The sidewalk and the grassy area in front of the gym that’s next to the pool building was full of people. It’s being used as a cooling station for street people, so I guess they hand out cold bottles of water, judging by the number of empty ones I saw and picked up on my way up the ramp with my rollator and my pool equipment. The parking lot was also blocked by marshal cars and cop cars. They were there to keep an eye on the street people and stop any water fights that might break out.
I started up the ramp to the pool doors and who should have JUST that minute walked up to the door? You guessed it. My Favorite Martians from Summerlin.
Inwardly, I was fuming and cursing them for being two ugly sons of a red bellied lump of rotten liver, and saying to myself, “I can’t BELIEVE these people are so petty as to get here an hour before the pool opens! Who DOES that?”
As I continued on my way to the doors, Wifey Poo steps to the side to block me. It was very casual, but I knew exactly what she was doing. She had two options at that point: Move aside, or become a flattened participant in a game of bumper cars under my rollator wheels. She’s Japanese, so the top of her head barely reaches my swimsuit straps. I knew who would win that encounter. Unless she has some killer jiu jitsu moves. In which case, I would block and parry with my rollator or my hydrobells.
If she thinks being short carries any weight with me, she’s sadly mistaken.
The cops and marshals–gathered to keep the peace among the quiet and well behaved street people–continued to chat with each other, having no clue that not fifty feet away there was about to be a throw down between three senior citizens of the deep. Expect the unexpected, that’s what I always say.
I said to Mrs. Martian, in no uncertain terms (whatever those are), “ExCUSE me,” walked past her to the door, turned the knob and went inside. They would have stood outside for an hour, so I kind of regretted them knowing the secret of an unlocked door.
I walked to the unattended front desk, dug out my pool card, scanned it, and sat down. Hubby disappeared in the direction of the men’s locker room like he had an urgent date with a pool toy. After a few minutes, I walked into the lifeguard’s room, watched the swim team for a minute, then got my dumbbells and walked out to the deck to put them down at the far lane.
Hubby was standing there already trying to put his things down at the lane, only there is no lane until they move the ropes back when the swim team is done. Until then, the ropes go the other direction so the laps are super long. There was also a hose lying there. I walked away, went back inside, and figured, “Well, I guess he was there first, so I’ll just take the second lane in again.” No big deal. It’s them taking TWO lanes to themselves that’s a problem.
I used to take the lane in front of the lifeguard’s door because it is still close to the steps and my rollator, but the old woman who comes everyday to walk back and forth is always demanding I vacate that one. She now seems rather tame to me, after these two. That woman also refuses to share when the pool is full because she “uses her arms and rides a pool worm”.
What is it with these people? No one gyrates more than I do to my music and I know how to share. Those two big hydrobells I use could take someone out on either side of me. And I can still figure out sharing. Amazing.
As I walked back into the lobby, the Hubby Martian was just walking back to the locker room to go out to the pool deck. He’d come up to the desk to see if anyone was there he could bitch to about me, but no one had arrived yet. What a shame.
At 8 o’clock I walked out to get in the pool and there was nothing at the first two lanes but my dumbbells. The Martian couple were near the lifeguard door–he was sitting on the bench, looking at the ground and talking as I walked by. I thought he was talking to his wife. When I saw they hadn’t put their things down, I turned around and walked back to them. I was going to give them the end lane because this bozo is truly attached to it. He clearly needs it more than I do.
Perhaps a waterproof teddy bear would be in order, too.
I said to him, “You can take that lane if you have trouble accessing the pool….” but he kept talking and looking at the ground. Wifey Poo didn’t even turn around. I repeated it, but he didn’t seem to hear me. I tried a third time and then I heard him say, “Screw you, lady, screw you.” And something about how he wasn’t going to be bullied and another “Screw you,” for good measure. That settled that.
It was one of the most pathetic displays I’ve ever seen: A man in his 50s or 60s, sitting on a bench and acting out because he didn’t get a spot on the swings or the slide in third grade. It was bizarre.
I stuck my head inside the lifeguard door again and told them I was trying to offer these people the lane but Mr. Man would have none of it. Then I went back to the far lane, waited while two of the lifeguards talked to Mr. Martian, and then came to talk to me.
Ben is a lifeguard from the Summerlin pool and couldn’t believe that people were refusing to share. He said they share all the time up at the other pool. The Martian couple’s thing is that they want two lanes side by side, by themselves, and that’s that. If they save their Martian allowances and come up with about 60k, they could build their own freaking pool. The sense of entitlement in some people is jaw dropping.
The upshot is that Ben and Alex told them–and came to tell me–that we all need to know that no one “owns” a lane and that no one shall be allowed on deck before 8am, including me. I’m good with that.
As I was leaving, Alex told me that Mr. Martian had become defensive about his story and as soon as he did that, Alex knew he wasn’t being truthful about his account of what had happened that morning. What he said to Alex, I don’t know. Nothing did happen, except that Mr. Martian knew I “was there first, nyah, nyah” and won the Battle of the Lanes, I guess.
Kudos to Ben and Alex for their admirable handling of the situation. I sent a commendation about them both to Parks and Rec.